Sunday, 27 November 2011

The Emperor's Finest - Tomorrow's War

To playtest Tomorrow's War we set up a scenario of two five man Adeptus Arbites squads clearing some cultist scum out of a broken down industrial zone.

One squad has a medium support weapon. The Arbites shotguns function as rifles, firing heat-seaking rounds.

I did not use all the chaos cultists pictured here. We decided to have four squads of five with rifles, two of the squads having medium support weapons. In other words double the Arbites.

We stuck to testing the core rules, ignoring morale as both sides are fanatics. The cultists are irregulars (using D6s to hit etc) so we used the Asymetric Warfare rules. The main one being that the Arbitese are always the initiative side. The Arbitese are veterans using a D10 dice. As you roll die against each other for various outcomes D10 has much better odds than D6. We also ignored the casualty evacuation rules which are far too all pervasive. Cultists wouldn't care and Arbitese are dedicated. The current focus with casualty evacuation is a modern Western response to losing soldiers in unpopular guerrilla wars. Such finickyness wouldn't survive a high intensity war and non-Western military are not so fussy.

I decided to play the Action/Reaction cascade limited to Action/ Reaction to the action/ Reaction to the reaction using overwatch or opportunity fire.

 The Game

 We set the first game up as above. The Arbites are ambushed by cultists in buildings.

One Arbites squad rushes out with the second on overwatch. They all dies in te crossfire due to some abyssmal die rolling. However, turn by turn, the remaining squad started to slaughter all cultists within line of site and the cultists couldn't lay a mutated glove on them.

 Game Two.
The Arbitese close in on the cultists in a pincer movement, firing as they advance.

Cultists start dieing.

The cultists are methodically slaughtered, killing only one Arbitese in reply.

So what went wrong. Well, at one level it all went right, Arbitese do the biz when confronted with cultists. Very true to the 40K canon but not a lotta fun. I suspect that the way the combat system works, the cultists would have done much better in two groups of ten. That way they could swamp the Arbitese with firepower.

Five cultists fire five D6 as their basic attack against 7D10 for the Arbitese defence (5 plus 2 for armour), which has to match each 4+ hitwith an equal value die roll to remove it. Ten cultists with a support weapon would fire 13 D6 but the defence is still 7D10.


  1. Hmm. Perhaps defence dice could only be used once per turn, while armor could keep being used? So shot by one group of cultists, roll 4+2 to stop attacks, get shot by second group roll 3+2, shot by third group only get 2 armor dice?

    Seems kind of silly to force a skirmish game to devolve into huge clumps fighting each other. Is there some other advantage to smaller groups that could balance it out?

  2. Well, it works between troops of similar capability but it is the asymetric warfare that is the heart of the Ambush Alley rule sets.

  3. We played a TW game using the asymmetric rules recently and had similar results: the elite regular soldiers did the job quite well, and the insurgents/rebels/cultists were little more than speedbumps.

    Things will improve for you once you start to use optional rules like Out of Contact Movement and Hot Spot Reinforcements. We implemented those and found our games were much more exciting.

  4. Dear CSW
    Thanks that is useful info,